Ned (Sean Bean) makes a fateful decision; Robb takes a prized prisoner; Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finds her reign imperiled.
There was a lot of build-up in the early part of the season and now it is all about pay-off and the consequences.
In King’s Landing, Varys tries to persuade the still imprisoned Ned to tell Cersei what she wants to hear, if not to save his own life to at least save Sansa’s. But will he? Ned’s honour has led to other decisions that have weighed heavily on him for many years. Meanwhile, Robb is forced to make some tough decisions of his own in order to gain the co-operation of a vital ally and to give himself and his troops a fighting chance against the might of the Lannisters. Yes, this includes the introduction of Walder Frey, that old charmer. He’s every bit as unpleasant as one could want.
That might now includes Tyrion and his clansmen, though Tyrion is less than thrilled with their insistence that he fight with them. In preparing for the battle, he decides he could use some companinship and so we are introduced to Shae, a young camp-follower. She is fairly different from how she is depicted in the books, though her scene with Tyrion and Bronn is quite interesting.
On the Wall, Jonn receives a gift from Lord Commander Mormont and has a very moving conversation with Maester Aemon about upholding ones vows and remaining honorable even in the face of a very trying situation. It ties in very well with the choices presented to Ned.
A difficult choice is also put before Daenerys. Drogo’s injury has festered and his weakness threatens to break apart the khalasar; the Dothraki follow only strength and Daenerys and her unborn child will be in grave danger if Drogo does not recover. Recognizing this, Daenerys makes a very fateful decision, leading to an eerie, frightening sequence.
But the most memorable part of this episode still has to be the end.
[HBO’s video preview.]